From your friends at; Residents 4 Arkansas http://www.residents4arkansas.com/
We at "Residents 4 Arkansas" felt compelled to address the issue of violence in our state, especially in light of a recent report which lists several of our cities as among the most violent in the continental US; Pine bluff, Texarkana, and West Memphis. I am certain that many of you will agree with this logical reasoning; "Crime exists as we know it everywhere." Unfortunately there does NOT exist a safe community that has escaped its heinous grasp. A bullet or a knife does NOT care about how much money you make, what the color of your skin is and what your education level might be. Unfortunately, such deplorable crimes as rape, murder, theft and the trafficking of illegal drugs seems to have permeated our neighborhoods, and we are in fact swimming with it daily. All one has to do it seems, is pick up the local paper and or turn on the news, and you will most assuredly see what we're talking about. As a matter of fact, the majority of the stories which we hear are those of a violent nature, detailing the 5 W's of EVERY grisly crime; Who, What, When, Where and Why. The fact remains, just how much stock should we as residents place in these "Statistical Reports" when they seem to hit so close to home. Better yet still just what impact does it have on the possibility of better industry locating into our area? The whole purpose of this article is to make you aware that numbers do not ALWAYS tell the complete truth, and also to make you aware that there are many agencies diligently working behind the scenes in the effort to better Northeast Arkansas and our state as a whole.
I have an acquaintance who is the mayor of a very large city, with a population in excess of 160,000. Roughly one year ago, after the assumption of his office "Forbes Magazine" came out with a detailed list of the fastest dying metropolitan areas in the United States. As fate would have it, Dayton Ohio wound up near the very top of this list, and shortly after that she found herself on another listing of "Most Violent Cities." Now, when news of this settled in, the citizens of Dayton had three choices on how to best handle this matter; 1. Ignore it (In the hopes that it might eventually fade away) 2. Accept it, 3. Rise above it, (working in unison to actually solve their problems.) Make no mistake about it, transforming whole communities and working to make neighborhoods safer and more economically viable does NOT happen overnight, but it CAN. In the case with this before mentioned Ohio City, great strides have and are continuing to be made on a daily basis. Of course this primarily came about by the majority of her residents forming various grass-roots organizations, rolling up their own sleeves and working at correcting a myriad of complex issues. The result has indeed been amazing, and people from all walks of life and economic backgrounds are in effect coming together for the greater good of their city. In a sense you could say that the outcome of NEA and the state is left up to us, the everyday people who know our communities the best. The following agency is one such group of dedicated people solely focused on the needs of Crittenden County residents. Just like a great majority of Non Profit Agencies, their work oftentimes goes unnoticed. Whether you are a religious individual by nature or not, it does well to reflect on the work of the 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ!
In the early part of July 2010, "Residents 4 Arkansas" West Memphis Chapter had the unique opportunity to sit down with Rev, Lee Crawford (Executive Director of the 8th Street) and he was gracious enough to also take us on a guided tour of the facility. One visit and I'm certain you'll agree…Arkansas needs MORE community places just like the 8th Street Mission! The following are some of the mission's objectives.
1. To respond to individuals experiencing personal crisis
2. To be a supportive agency to community endeavors and build bridges of understanding between people in the community and throughout the Greater West Memphis area.
3.To reach out to our community and beyond to assist the needy, demonstrating generosity.
Now here are some stats of a POSITIVE nature which are worth noting:
During 2009: The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ served over 29,646 meals
During 2009: 9,200 beds were made available for homeless men and women. The Mission was initially chartered in 1984, by a group of citizens who wanted to see their city continue to prosper and grown. These individuals are indeed a fine testament of what it means to be gracious and kind.
The Mission also offers the following program (many more are of course available to anyone who walks through their doors.)
This program consists of an intensive 195 Day rehabilitation designed for either male or female to overcome various chemical additions through a highly structured work program. They also spend on average 25 hours a week in study of the bible and engaged in worship services.
The whole end state of this article has been to make you the reader aware of some of the great things being done by LOCAL residents engaged in the relentless pursuit of community improvement. It has always been our firm belief that the REAL everyday people such as YOU and I will be able to correct the troubling issues which threaten our communities….and I believe it's time that we ALL become involved.
For more information on the work of the 8th Street Mission, or if you would like to become involved to help members of your local community then we urge you to check out their following
With Humble Regards
Kenneth Wade Aden
Real People = Real Results!